Emma Watson is rich, gorgeous, passionate, famous, eloquent, a feminist and really REALLY smart. In other words, she is a misogynist’s worst nightmare in every way possible. Her mere existence is a threat to the kind of “men” that think women exist to be subservient. This Neanderthal mentality was put on full display Sunday when 4chan, the refuge of socially inept, created a website called: “Emma You Are Next.”
The site is counting down to midnight Friday and features a picture of Watson wiping a tear away from her face. It also sports the 4chan logo and the phrase “Never Forget, The Biggest To Come Thus Far.” What the site is counting down to is unclear but considering the recent deluge of hacked celebrity nudes, it’s not that hard to guess what the site is referring to.
The site went up on the same day that Watson delivered a powerful speech to the UN about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and the culture of machismo. That could just be a coincidence. Or, it could be, as Raw Story suggests, a message to Watson to keep her mouth shut like a good little girl.
Sunday’s speech focused on the HeForShe campaign, a movement based on the idea that women, alone, cannot bring about a parity between the sexes. The only way for true equality to occur and be accepted is if men stand along side women and say, “Enough!”
In other words, men need to be responsible for what men do and what men say. It’s not enough to teach women, “Don’t get raped.” We also have to teach our men, “Don’t rape.”
You can see why this would drive misogynists wild with rage. Placing the onus for men’s behavior on men strips them of the power they’ve enjoyed for a very very long time to do whatever the hell they felt like to women and be secure in the knowledge that the woman would almost certainly be blamed for it.
Watson also discussed the fact that the word “Feminism” has been distorted from it’s true meaning:
The more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
Part of this is through a very teeny tiny, but vocal, segment of feminists who really do preach hatred of men. The rest, however, has been achieved by a concerted effort by the right wing to characterize all feminists as shrill man-hating harpies. Remember, conservatives despise the the idea of a level playing field for anyone that’s not a white male heterosexual Christian. Why do you think Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase “Feminazis?” Even conservative women like Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly think women belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Clearly, it is in their best interest to squash the feminist movement whenever and wherever possible.
For me, personally, the most powerful part of Watson’s speech is when she pointed out how gender stereotypes hurt men just as much as women:
Gender equality is your issue, too. Because, to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a men, or less of a man. In fact, in the U.K., suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are. And that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
As a stay at home parent for the past 6 years, I’ve been subjected to a great deal of scorn and derision from those who think it’s not “manly” to be the primary caregiver. What kind of lazy bum lets his wife work all day while he sits at home? Why don’t you get a real job? Etc. I’ve often countered such comments with the following question: “Does your mother know you think she was being a lazy bum while she was raising you?” This is usually followed by a string of profanity aimed in my direction.
Fortunately, I could care less what other people think of me but I’ve seen other men being slowly crushed by the expectations of society. And for what? To live up to an ideal created whole cloth in the 1950s to convince women to leave the workforce after the end of World War II? Ridiculous. If I had a dollar for every adult who thinks their father was too distant and emotionally unavailable when they were growing up, I’d be able to buy an election or two on my own.
Here’s Watson’s amazing speech at the United Nations:
If it’s true that 4chan has nude photos of Emma Watson and it’s also true that they expect her to censor herself lest they be released, I don’t think they understand who they’re dealing with. Trying to publicly shame this young woman will be about as effective as emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.
Good luck with that.